Socialist Constitutional Democracy in the Age of Accountability (问责时代的社会主义宪制民主)

32 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Larry Catá Backer

Larry Catá Backer

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law

Miaoqiang Dai 戴苗强

Pennsylvania State University

Date Written: October 23, 2018


English Abstract: This paper examines the development of democratic theory, in general, and the emergence of deep structures of Socialist Democracy in China in the New Era. To that end, we will briefly touch on the conjoining of two theoretical trajectories that, in the West, are rarely conjoined. More the pity for our understanding of the world as it is. But is an oversight that merits correction. What are these theoretical trajectories? The first is the development of a theory of democratic behavior that extends beyond the conventional orthodoxies we sometimes mistakenly come to believe are both complete and impregnable. We will suggest that, indeed, conventional exogenous democratic theory is not just pregnable but has in fact given birth to something quite remarkable. That is, it has opened the possibilities to theories of endogenous democracy. The second is the trajectory of the development of a robust Leninism that we have sometimes assumed is capable only of governance models in which power holders are essentially unaccountable. We will suggest that in seeking to more deeply embed the core postulate of collectivity within its own theoretical structures, emerging notions of Chinese Leninism has given us a glimpse at the possibilities of an accountability-based structure of governance that is in its essence robustly democratic.

Chinese Abstract: 本文考察了广义上的民主理论发展和新时代中国社会主义民主的深层结构。我们所处的时代正经历着两大理论发展轨迹的交汇,西方常常忽视了这一点。从正确理解世界的角度来说,这着实令人惋惜,我们试图指出这一问题并加以纠正。交汇理论之一是民主行为理论的发展已经超出了我们误以为已经发展完备并坚不可摧的正统范畴。我们认为传统的外生式民主理论并非坚不可摧,相反,这一模式的缺陷恰恰为另一条道路上的内生式民主带来了生机。交汇中的另一个理论轨迹是列宁主义的发展完善,该理论经常被视作一种无法在根本上问责执政者的治理模式。我们认为在将集体概念贯彻在其理论结构的过程中,发展中的中国特色列宁主义已经证明了一种基于问责制的治理结构的可行性,而且这一结构在根本上也是完全民主的。

Note: Downloadable document is in English and Chinese.

Keywords: Socialist Consultative Democracy, Accountability, Democratic Centralism, Leninism, Democracy, Voting, United Front, China

JEL Classification: B51, H11, K1, K42, P26, P37

Suggested Citation

Backer, Larry Catá and Dai, Miaoqiang, Socialist Constitutional Democracy in the Age of Accountability (问责时代的社会主义宪制民主) (October 23, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Larry Catá Backer (Contact Author)

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

Miaoqiang Dai

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

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